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Aristotle on Eudaimonia: On the Virtue of Returning to the Source

  • Blaine J. FowersEmail author
Chapter
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)

Abstract

Psychologists are increasingly interested in the topic of eudaimonia, a term adopted from ancient Greek philosophers (with most modern views traceable to Aristotle), referring to human flourishing. Conceptual confusion remains because investigators generally have not clarified how and why they have appropriated Aristotle’s concept of eudaimonia. This chapter presents a close interpretation of Aristotle’s view and explores continuities and discontinuities in psychologists’ application of this original concept to provide a theoretical baseline and increase conceptual clarity. Eudaimonia is explored as an ethical concept referring to the best kind of life, which is an outgrowth of humans’ natural endowments. Eudaimonia is a form of activity (that includes subjective experience, but is not limited to it), comprised by the pursuit of ends that are choiceworthy for human beings. Eudaimonia is a unified way of life, but it has multiple constituents (e.g., belonging, justice, and social harmony). Eudaimonia is related to, but distinct from pleasure (hedonia). Human flourishing is a matter of a complete life that encompasses virtue or excellence, and Aristotle saw it as the ultimate aim of human life. The chapter concludes with several major challenges for eudaimonia researchers.

Keywords

Happiness Wellbeing Eudaimonia Aristotle Philosophy 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational and Psychological StudiesUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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